Believe it or not, but terror outfit Indian Mujahideen sent the operatives who successfully carried out the July 2011 blasts in Mumbai on a vacation to Goa!
Asadullah Akhtar, an alleged close associate of banned terror group Indian Mujahideen's co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, gave his interrogators -- the National Investigation Agency -- chilling details of how the attacks carried out and how the operatives were sent to Goa following the operation.
After being questioned for nearly 16 hours, Akhtar has given us exact details of the 13/7 blasts, an NIA officer told rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa.
Here’s an excerpt of Aktar’s statement from the NIA’s detailed investigation report:
‘The blast involved Indian Mujahideen’s top four operatives -- Yasin Bhatkal, Assadullah Akthar, Waqas and Tehsin Akthar.
‘We had just decided a month back that we wanted to target the commercial capital of India, but began planning for the same only a week before the attack. This was intentional since a long duration of planning and communicating regarding the same meant that we would generate heat. It was Yasin, in fact, who said that they would meet a week before the attack and plan it.
‘The first thing that we all did was take up an apartment for rent in Byculla. After we checked in, we conducted a survey of the targets -- Opera House, Kabutarkhana, Dadar flower market and Zaveri Bazar. We found that the security was poor and the places we chose were crowded and hence this became a perfect target for us.
‘When we landed at Byculla for the first time, we did so with the required material. We hid the ammunition in the apartment and assembled it only on the day of the blasts. In fact it was Yasin who assembled the four bombs on the morning of the attack. We had picked up pressure cookers to prepare the bomb. The ingredients that we used were ammonium nitrate gel, detonators and a timer.
‘Waqas took one of the bombs and planted it at the Opera House while Yasin with Akthar planted the bombs at Dadar and Kabutakhana. I had stolen a scooter the previous night and the next morning after the bombs were prepared. I placed the bomb under the seat of the vehicle. I rode the vehicle to Zaveri Bazar and planted the bomb there.
‘After each of us planted the bombs we remained at our respective places for nearly 2 hours to ensure that no one disturbed the bomb. We were instructed that this attack should be a success at any cost since it would be a slap on the face of the ATS which was getting into the habit of carrying out wrong arrests terming them as Indian Mujahideen operatives.
‘The first to leave were Bhatkal and Tehsin Aktar. They left for Darabhanga and remained there. None of them got in touch with us as we had decided prior to planting the bombs. I along with Waqas went back to Byculla and watched the proceedings on television. Once we realized that the bombs had exploded successfully, we decided to leave the city.
‘We were given money by Yasin who told us to take a vacation at a place of our choice. Both of us left for Goa and spent over a week there. We were given nearly Rs 1 lakh and told to spend it on a vacation at a place of our choice. We chose Goa.
‘A week later, we returned to Byculla. Yasin too was supposed to join us at the apartment. However, that afternoon the ATS announced that it had picked up an operative called Naqi Ahmed, who was actually an informer for the Delhi Police. This alerted all of us and we realized that the police was seriously on our trail.
‘We realized that Naqi was an informer and he could possibly have information on us. Yasin who was to turn up that evening too cancelled his plans at the last minute. We left Byculla immediately after hearing about the arrest. We took shelter in Darabanga and stayed on there.’